Gillings researchers win Fogarty awards to promote ethics in DRC

Aug. 20, 2013
Two Gillings School of Global Public Health faculty members have received the Fogarty International Center’s International Research Ethics Education and Curriculum Development Award to raise awareness and promote skills related to bioethical issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dr. Frieda BehetsFrieda Behets, PhD, professor of epidemiology, and Stuart Rennie, PhD, adjunct assistant professor of health policy and management, are  co-principal investigators for the project, “Strengthening Bioethics Capacity and Justice in Health.”
Rennie also is associate professor of social medicine in the UNC School of Medicine and member of the core faculty at the UNC Bioethics Center.
The Fogarty International Center is dedicated to advancing the mission of the National Institutes of Health by supporting and facilitating global health research conducted by investigators in the U.S. and around the world, building partnerships between health research institutions in the U.S. and abroad, and training the next generation of scientists to address global health needs.
Behets’ and Rennie’s $1,317,030 award was one of five Fogarty grants totaling $4.8 million over five years to advance ethics training related to medical and biomedical research. New and renewal grants from Fogarty’s International Research Ethics Education and Curriculum Development Award will allow institutions in low- and middle-income countries to create graduate curricula and educational opportunities for clinical researchers working in areas involving human subjects.
“With its high disease burden,” Behets and Rennie wrote in their grant application, “Francophone Africa is increasingly a venue for biomedical and public health research involving human participants, but local capacity in ethical conduct and regulation of research is underdeveloped. Our program will contribute to public health by enhancing responsible conduct of research and helping to maintain trust between research institutions, researchers and communities. It also will raise local awareness of the ethical issues commonly confronted by public health practitioners and strengthen their skills to help resolve and manage them.”
Other grantees were from Stanford University, Union Graduate College (Schenectady, N.Y.), The University of Pittsburgh and The University of San Andres (La Paz, Bolivia). Two of the awards will fund new programs to train researchers in Thailand, Vietnam and China, while a two-year planning grant will support development of a project in Bolivia. The UNC and Union Graduate College awards will provide renewal funding for ongoing ethics training in the DRC, Burundi, Madagascar and 17 central and eastern European countries.
“Medical research abroad must proceed on a sound ethical basis,” said Roger I. Glass, MD, PhD, director of the Fogarty Center. “These new awards will help provide master’s-level training for researchers and health professionals, ensuring research with human subjects is carried out in an ethical manner.”
The awards are partly supported by NIH funding partner, the National Human Genome Research Institute

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or

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